A study by a workforce management group claims employers are looking for young single males as a prime prospect for new recruits, flying in the face of logic suggesting a broad range of recruits will create a diverse and successful environment.

A report by the company Kronos has found that employers viewed the "ideal worker" as young, male and unattached: 38% of employers favoured hiring male employees; while 19% preferred to hire females; and 57% did not have a preference of gender.

The report suggests people are either willing or are forced to work less as they approach parenthood or retirement; 72% of respondents expected to transition to part-time working hours after becoming parents, 53% of employers think mature-aged workers leading up to retirement are also likely to want flexible conditions.

The figures were taken from 500 business decision-makers and 2000 employees in Australia and have raised some concerns about workplace diversity. Kronos Vice President Peter Harte says companies who only hire young risk missing out on the value and expertise that comes from a range of life experiences.

Mr Harte believes companies are looking to set-and-forget, hiring people who "fit the mould of least disruption" he says, “about half of business (49%) thought that having flexible working practices was too disruptive and costly to bring into the work environment."